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Comic Relief: ‘Somebody Call Yo Mama'

A little "Comic Relief!" to help you smile through the trials and tribulations of the mid-week madness. As I wait for my cell phone to actually make a call this week, it seems appropriate to ask the question: what ever happened to actually being able to m

What ever happened to those cell phone commercials from the late 1990s and early 2000s, you know the ones with the Verizon guy who asks “can you hear me now?”

It’s 2012 and despite all the advancements in technology that allow me to surf the web, get directions, navigate my Southington Patch Facebook page, update stories, listen to Rhapsody, find comparable prices on everyday consumer goods and do pretty much any other task I can dream up right on my cell phone, I still find myself asking this question when attempting to make a call.

“Can you hear me now?” Umm, no - no I can’t.

First of all, I feel bad for the guy on the other end of that line. I mean, could you imagine having to listen to that stupid phrase constantly and just having to answer the question? That has to really drive a man crazy, kind of like it does in this video.

But I digress – mainly because my response half the time would seem to be “what?”

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Cell phones these days can seemingly do anything you want except make a call where you can have an intelligent conversation. In fact, the art of calling seems to be something that is getting left out in many ways when phones are featured in advertisements like this one for the iPhone 4.

Apple, in an extended preview designed to show you what the phone can do, runs through endless content – but at no point in this extended preview does it mention anything related to actually talking on the product itself.

No, really. Let’s review. With the iPhone 4, you can:

  • Use Siri.
  • Enjoy the dual-core A5 chip.
  • Utilize the “can’t-believe-it’s-on-a-phone” camera.
  • Record video in 1080p HD.
  • Do anything computer-related with the iOS operating system.
  • Use iCloud to stream all your content.
  • Enjoy a retina display for remarkable clarity on the web.
  • Stay connected with Face Time.
  • Watch movies with AirPlay.
  • Print everything wirelessly with AirPrint.
  • Use your signal to download data (they almost get into calls here).
  • Enjoy hundreds of built in apps.

OK, thanks. But I just want to make a call.

Now if you follow the column “Comic Relief!” then you are well aware by now that I will poke fun at anything, including myself. But in writing this today, I have a unique challenge for everyone and a social note that I’d like to take a serious look at for a moment.

In a world filled with endless technology, we stay in touch with each other more than ever before. We can text, email six different ways, send picture messages, leave direct posts on Facebook and Twitter (Editor’s Note: This is a shameless plug, but if you haven’t liked us already and signed up to follow us, make sure you do), but I truly believe something has been lost.

When was the last time you called up a friend, on the phone, to actually hear their voice when you asked, “how are you doing?” Even if you did, would they recognize your number and actually pick up the line on the other end to say hello back?

In this fast-paced world we live in, many of us have come to think of something like this as being an intrusion on people’s lives. But back in the day, when snail mail was the only option and things like caller-ID were nothing more than futuristic concepts, there was this thing called the telephone.

It rang, usually pretty loud, and interrupted you from whatever you were doing. There was no music, just a distinct ring. And people answered.

“Hello?” they would ask, completely unsure of who was on the other end. “Hi, it’s so-and-so,” the caller would reply. Then they had a good old interpersonal conversation. The honest truth is, it was enjoyable to get that unexpected call.

So here’s my challenge for every one of you today, if you have a cell phone that can actually get enough signal. Call up a friend or family member and ask them, “Hey buddy, how are you doing?”

And actually mean it.

You never know, it just might be the call they need to feel good and slow down a minute in the process. And it might actually make you feel good as well. Why not give it a try?

Task completed, we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

It's only Wednesday, but it feels like the weekend should have been here two days ago. You have a full plate ahead, lots of work left to do, classes at or college to sit through or are just plain in need of a break. We have you covered.

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